What report can I use to get magazine distributors to reduce my supply? This question (or versions of it) is a common question I am asked by newsagents – usually by someone downsizing their shop or struggling with magazine oversupply and / or other business challenges.
In some respects, given the push model used by the two major magazine distributors, Gordon & Gotch and Network Services, no report will help newsagents get more equitable magazine supply or a supply trimmed to suit a smaller size shop. This is best achieved by writing to each distributor, making your case and then taking action through mediation or legally if they ignore you. While this route – letter followed by legal – is one ignored by most newsagents, it is the approach most likely to work.
If you do want to understand your situation, the Magazine Sell through Rates Report or the MPA Magazine Performance Report or the Title Performance Report will give you clarity on your sell through and the trend in your business. While you can use your software to immediately early return under-performing titles, the best action really is to get the distributor engaged.
If you really want to go hardcore on yourself you can run the Magazine Cash Flow report. Have medication at the ready as this report will show you what you make or lose on any given title after taking into account retail real-estate and labour. But this report is not for the feint-hearted as it will usually show that 65% or more of the titles you carry are loss-making. Like I said, not for the feint-hearted.
If you want to reduce your magazine supply here is my management advice recommendation: write to the distributor in question, make your business case (reduced floorspace allocation for magazines / oversupply), given them seven days to respond. If there is no response or if, over time, there is no change in behaviour, take action – start with your local Small Business Commissioner and ask for mediation. It’s not expensive and shows them you are serious about addressing the issue.